by Lyndy Berryhill & Hunter Dawkins
In the twelve year competing against each other, the Long Beach Bearcats won 21-12 for the eleventh time at the West Harrison High School homecoming in Gulfport Friday night.
The Bearcats led in points for all four quarters, bringing home their first victory since a year ago beating the West Harrison Hurricanes in a slug fest with both record team scores that Long Beach won 57-49.
“I’m very pleased with our guys and proud for them,” said Bearcats’ Head Coach Ryan Ross. “I thought the players played really hard.”
The Bearcats scored two touchdowns and converted both extra points during the first half, leading the Hurricanes 14-0. Long Beach Quarterback Charlie Starita dove in on a sneak from a yard out and Running Back Ahjiren Brooks ran behind a power block from 10 yard for the next one.
After halftime, the Hurricanes put six points on the board with a touchdown by Keonte Smith with roughly six minutes left to go in the third quarter.
The Bearcats ran for another touchdown by Dyvonne McCord with one minute remaining in the third quarter. Long Beach earned an extra point with a field goal, bringing the score to 21-6.
In the final quarter, the Hurricanes made an impressive run toward the end zone that brought fans some excitement. But the run was stopped short.
Josiah Khan completed the Hurricanes’ second touchdown of the night with nearly 11 minutes left on the clock. The Hurricanes missed their chance with an extra point from a field goal. The lost chance settled the score at 21-12. The scoreboard’s job was done for the night.
The Hurricanes made several first down plays late in the fourth quarter, but the Bearcats’ defense proved too strong.
Ross said he is happy with the defense’s performance since there were few missed tackles, but their opponent’s put up a good fight.
“We didn’t give up many explosive plays,” Ross said. The coach said his team was able to move the ball well offensively to get points on the board early, which was an improvement from their last week.
The previous Friday night, the Bearcats lost 13-17 to the Pass Christian Pirates in a controlled team scrimmage.
Ross said there were several players whose performance stood out tonight. He was particularly proud of senior Dyvonne McCord.
“He carried the ball well,” Ross said. “West Harrison fought hard and they played until the very end.” McCord had 65 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries for the Bearcats. Brooks finished with 78 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
West Harrison High Head Coach Quincy Patrick took the loss hard. Patrick said he feels “terrible” about the loss and blames himself.
“The kids played hard…but the head coach did not bring enough energy in the first half,” Patrick said. The coach said he plans to bring more to the next game.
Next Friday, Long Beach will play the Vancleave Bulldogs on their opponent’s turf while West Harrison face off with the Pass Christian Pirates for the second week at home. Last year, the Bearcats lost to the Bulldogs at home 33-20 and the Hurricanes beat the Pirates for the second consecutive year.